HazMat Transportation

Hazmat Transporters: Make Sure Your Emergency Response Information Is Up to Snuff

Yesterday we reviewed the top 10 hazardous materials (hazmat) transportation violations uncovered by Department of Transportation (DOT) roadside inspectors in fiscal year (FY) 2017. Today we will review DOT guidance concerning common violations of emergency response (ER) information requirements.

shipping paper manifest

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For the past 5 years, violations of ER information requirements have been among the top 10 violations uncovered by DOT roadside inspectors. The hazardous materials regulations (HMRs) outline the required ER information and require that it be maintained and accessible. Let’s look at the requirements and some scenarios where DOT officials have offered guidance concerning these often misunderstood regulations.

Note: The requirements to provide and maintain ER information apply during transportation and at facilities where hazmat is loaded for transportation, stored incidental to transportation, or otherwise handled during any phase of transportation. The ER information requirements do not apply to hazmat that is excepted from shipping paper requirements or to materials classified as ORM-D.

Who’s Responsible for What?

Shippers are responsible for ensuring that the document with the required ER information is provided to the carrier. Carriers are responsible for maintaining the document and making it immediately accessible to vehicle operators (e.g., motor vehicle drivers, train crew personnel, flight crew members). Facility operators where hazmat is received, stored, or handled during transportation are responsible for maintaining the ER information whenever the hazmat is present and ensuring that it is immediately accessible to facility personnel.

What Is the Required Information?

ER information is intended to be used in an incident involving hazmat. The minimum information that it must contain includes:

  • The basic description and technical name of the hazmat;
  • Immediate hazards to health;
  • Risks of fire or explosion;
  • Immediate precautions to be taken in the event of an accident or incident;
  • Immediate methods for handling fires;
  • Initial methods for handling spills or leaks in the absence of fire; and
  • Preliminary first-aid measures.

In addition to the required ER information, with certain exceptions for each, an emergency response telephone number and carrier contact information must be provided.

Scenario 1: Using the Emergency Response Guide

DOT officials have been asked a number of times if entering the guide number page from the Emergency Response Guide (ERG) on the shipping paper in association with the listing of the hazmat and attaching the guide number page to the shipping paper satisfy the requirements to provide ER information.

The answer is no. The ER information must contain the basic description and technical name of the hazmat being offered for transportation. In addition, the ER information must be presented either:

  • On the shipping paper;
  • In a document, other than the shipping paper, that includes both the basic description and technical name of the hazmat; or
  • Related to the information on the shipping paper, in a separate document such as an ER document, in a manner that cross-references the description of the hazmat on the shipping paper with the ER information contained in the document.

So, if a guide number page from the ERG is used, it must include the basic description and, if applicable, the technical name of the hazmat. However, if the entire ERG is on the vehicle, the requirements concerning the basic description and how the ER information is presented are satisfied. In this instance, you may, but are not required to, enter the guide number page on the shipping paper. Just remember, it would not singularly satisfy the ER information requirements. You must have the physical document.

If you use the ERG to fulfill the ER information requirements, it is important to use the most current edition since your shipment should contain guidance that is most relevant to current ER practices.

Scenario 2: Using an SDS

According to DOT officials, a safety data sheet (SDS) that includes the ER information would satisfy the ER information requirements.

Check tomorrow’s Advisor for guidance on using a mobile device to display your ER information.